Students are missing out

by Ardhys De Leon, staff reporter

    Imagine a school flourishing with extra curricular activities; students attending clubs, instead of going home after a boring day of school. Many students would love to have a place where they can express themselves. However, in this school there are only 10 clubs, so most students don’t have a creative outlet that isn’t centered on academics.

    Having clubs in schools benefits students because it encourages them to try out new things that they might not have known they would be interested in. Being in clubs also looks good on college applications because it allows these schools to see that the students who participate in these clubs are well-rounded.

“Any activities that are enriching other than our everyday academic classes always add to the depth of the community and culture of the school,” High School Assistant Principal Nicholas Jurman said.

According to Schoolbook.com, the clubs in this school consist of the Student Government, Model UN, Publications, Election Connection, Competitive Speech and Debate, Principal’s Advisory, Drama, Student Newspaper, Broadcast, Newspaper, Literary Magazine, Yearbook, Readings and Performances, Screenwriting, Web Design, Videography, Photography, Greek, Guitar, Spanish, Web Design, Photography, Environmental and Freedom Writers.

However, this is no longer the case because more than half of these clubs no longer exist in this school. The clubs that do are the Dosomething club, the Environmental club, the Greek club, the Step Team, Guitar, Student Government and Student Ambassadors. (Insert research from schoolbook) Clubs like publications, newspaper, yearbook, broadcast and spanish have turned into mandatory classes.

    Schools like East- West School of International Studies, which has 582 students has a lot more clubs such as Student Government, Advisory Model United Nations, Tutoring, Drama Club, East-West Choir, Computer Animation Club, Queens College Literacy, Promotion, iMentor, MOUSE Squad, Art, Computer Animation, Cooking and Dance Team.

Other schools like The Queens School of Inquiry and Robert F. Kennedy Community High School are schools with a small population and a large number of clubs, according to Schoolbook.com. For instance, The Queens School in Inquiry has 587 students and 12 clubs.

Due to this, it is possible for there to be an abundance of clubs in schools that have a small population of students. Therefore, if schools like East-West of International Studies can do it, so can this school. John Elfreich, former coordinator of student activities(COSA) at Far Rockaway High school, disagrees with the implication that the number of clubs in a school should be a reflection of the number of students that attend.

“Having clubs is very important, students get to see a teacher outside of the classroom where there’s less strict rules; it’s more of a life education [for students involved in these clubs],” Elfreich said.

As a result, the decrease in number of clubs at this school could be due to the lack of involvement from staff and the administration in the organization of these after school activities. As of now, students are encouraged to submit a proposal to organize a club, this is then reviewed by the administration and many times approved. However, after this, the student is left on their own to establish and run a club with the help of an advisor, that sometimes is not interested.

“I think it starts with the students, they start out strong but after the 3rd or 4th week their interest [decreases] therefore the club slowly dies,” High School Vice Principal Nicholas Jurman said.

    This explains why clubs like the Asian Club and the Freedom Writers did not last. Both clubs started off strong and confident, however as time passed there seemed to be something missing and that was the help from a teacher according to students. Having a teacher could have pushed the freedom writers to go as far as perform their poetry in front of the school.

“I think that if there had been more supportive people like teachers [towards the Asian Club] then it could’ve been more successful. Like if it was set up by a teacher it could have lasted longer and more people would want to stay,” founder of the Asian Club Ning Shi said.

    According to principal secretary Ms. Pepe, because of the numerous extra help programs that run after school, the state has cut schools’ budgets to the extent that there is not a lot of money to be distributed to clubs. As a result if some clubs need money for supplies the school lends them the amount desired with the agreement that the school will be reimbursed by the end of the school year.

At the same time, it is difficult for teachers to set up clubs because they don’t have the same freedom as students do. Also, these teachers have to manage their numerous classes and the responsibility of a club.

    “Some of the obstacles that teachers who want to set up clubs face is time management, getting money for supplies and consistency,” freshmen English teacher Ms. Marks said.

    Other clubs that had help from teachers managed to succeed. This includes The Step Team, The Greek club and the Photography club. The photography club was only around for one year due to lack of organization. However, in its time the club managed to do a lot thanks to help from their adviser Mr. Nisonoff.

“I feel that Nisonoff, was a great mentor. He had [great] ideas, and it was his ideas that ultimately lead us to pursue the idea of the bulletin board display. We even thought of trying to create a dark room, to try and get that up and running, however due to lack of money and materials it wasn’t able to happen,” former photography club member Alexa Laspisa said.

    However, there is a way to fix this by having the administration and staff set up at least one new club each year and promote it to students, if its unsuccessful a new one in its place will be established the year after. To ensure that this club appeals to students, at the end of the year students could fill out an online form in which they choose from a small number of clubs proposed by the administration.

“I would love that Idea because I would participate and get my friends to try out for various clubs as well [since] after school there isn’t much to do and I would like to feel occupied and do something fun and interesting in the school,” sophomore Brenda Montero said.

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